If beauty is in the eye of the beholder then the same holds true for perception. Perception is reality. Apple has a perception problem. No, it’s not the iPhone XR’s value. No, it’s not the expensive new Mac mini.
The perception– at least since 2010 when Apple introduced the iPad– has been that iPads are build like tanks; solid, durable, dependable, long-lasting, and whatever other superlative you’ve got up your sleeve.
We’ve seen iPhones dropped into blenders. We’ve seen iPhones bent by hand. But nothing similar with the iPad line until Apple upped the price tag for iPad Pro and gave it an iPhone 5s look and feel with flat sides. It didn’t take long for some customers to complain about how iPad Pro bends. Yes, there is a YouTube video where an iPad Pro is bent by hand, but, as with most things on YouTube, that was a one-off exaggeration, right?
Maybe not so one-off. iPad Pro customers have started grumbling that the new models arrive pre-bent. Photos and videos have popped up online in sufficient quantity that Apple needed to respond. Senior VP of Hardware Engineering, Dan Riccio:
[iPad Pro] meets or exceeds all of Apple’s high quality standards of design and precision manufacturing. We’ve carefully engineered it and every part of the manufacturing process is precisely measured and controlled.
But why does it bend, Dan?
Current specification for iPad Pro flatness is up to 400 microns which is even tighter than previous generations. This 400 micron variance is less than half a millimeter (or the width of fewer than four sheets of paper at most) and this level of flatness won’t change during normal use over the lifetime of the product. Note, these slight variations do not affect the function of the device in any way.
So, why does it bend, Dan?
I have an idea. iPads have always bent. It’s the nature of something long, wide, and flat. The single most notable visual difference between new iPad Pro models and previous Pro and standard iPads is the side. Previous iPads had rounded edges. The new iPad Pro models have flat edges. I checked my early model iPad Pro– with the rounded edges– and, indeed, there is a very slight bend when the device is placed on a flat table. It’s just enough of a bend that a few sheets of paper can be slid underneath, but the bend is there.
Does it matter?
No. I treat my iPad the way I treat my iPhone. Both are supercomputers deserving of a case for protection. The iPad Pro’s bend is so slight that it cannot be determined without a test on a flat surface. The case may not eliminate the slight bend, but it diminishes any consideration of a bend.
Still, if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then perception is reality. Apple ships new iPad Pros that are bent, and even if the bend is less than previous models– which nobody cared about because the bend was not as visible– then Apple still has a perception problem that needs to be fixed.
A free Smart Keyboard Folio case would almost ease my pain.